Graduate School

Graduate School Staff


The Graduate School Staff is here to assist you throughout your graduate education. Among the duties of the office are to receive applications, coordinate their review, communicate with the prospective students regarding their admission status, maintain academic records, monitor students' progress, process assistantship appointments, advise students, and interpret academic policies established by the Graduate Council.

We are here to help you so please feel free to contact us any time.


John Z. Kiss, Ph.D.
Dean of the Graduate School

John Z. Kiss joined the University of Mississippi in September 2012 as the Dean of the Graduate School.  Dr. Kiss is a Professor of Biology and a Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.  His research is in the area of plant physiology and molecular biology, and he has had six spaceflight experiments on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station with funding from NASA, NSF, and NIH.  Dr. Kiss has mentored 18 M.S. and Ph.D. students as well as five post-doctoral associates, and his vision is to promote excellence in graduate education in all disciplines. He believes that increasing the number of individuals who hold graduate degrees will provide economic benefits to the state and the nation. As Dean, he continues to seek ways to expand interdisciplinary collaborations among graduate programs since these approaches will provide the best opportunities for students and are the pathway to the future.

Dr. Christy M. Wyandt
Graduate School Associate Dean

Dr. Christy M. Wyandt serves as Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Professor of Pharmaceutics and Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. She joined the faculty of the School of Pharmacy in 1989, served as Chair of the Pharmaceutics Department from 1999-2003 and became Associate Dean of the Graduate School on July 1, 2003. She received a B.A. in Chemistry from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Iowa. Prior to joining the faculty, she worked in product development in the pharmaceutical industry for seven years.

Robin Wiebe
Assistant to the Dean

Robin Wiebe is the Assistant to the Dean at the Graduate School. She earned her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Mississippi. Robin manages the graduate assistant health insurance program and oversees the admissions and records processes.


Kegan Armstrong
Regional Admissions Coordinator

Kegan Armstrong is a 2009 graduate of the University of Mississippi in Political Science with a minor in English. Kegan is happily married to Lethea Jackson with one son Landon. Kegan hobbies include reading, writing, and watching every sport known to man!


Connie DeFazio
Senior Secretary

Connie began working at the University of Mississippi in November of 2006 for the School of Business- Undergraduate Student Services department. Connie comes to the graduate school with over 25 years of experience in clerical/ secretarial experience. In addition to her university experience Connie has held positions at the Department of Defense, area hospitals, and her community church. Connie's job responsibilities include maintaining phone system, completing travel authorizations and reimbursements for faculty and students, as well as facilitate other day-to-day office activities. Connie has two daughters, Vanessa and Caiti.


Michelle Dickson
Administrative Coordinator

Michelle began her employment with the Graduate School in 2003 as the Office Manager. After a brief departure, she returned as the Coordinator of Records. Michelle is now the Administrative Coordinator. Michelle’s duties include reconciling and monitoring budget statements, supervising student workers, processing payroll, processing accounts payable/ receivables, processing tuition and non-resident scholarships for minority students,  and processing financial aid for graduate assistants and electronic forms.


Paige Duke
Sr. Project Administrator

Paige Duke joined the Graduate School in July 2007 as an Activities Specialist. Paige received her B.B.A. from The University of Mississippi in 1992. Paige's job responsibilities include orientation, recruiting, student counseling, alumni connections and creating new programs for our graduate students. She also acts as a liaison for the Graduate Student Council and the Graduate Program Coordinators and is the Webmaster for the Graduate School.


Candace Oswalt
Coordinator of Graduate Records

Candace serves as Coordinator of Graduate Records. Her job responsibilities include maintaining information on admitted, currently enrolled and recently degreed graduate students and verifying graduate requirements. She is also responsible for receiving and processing applications for graduate degrees; receiving and approving the formatting of thesis and dissertations andadministering graduating student surveys.


Veda Taylor
Graduate Activities Assistant for Admissions

Her job responsibilities at the Graduate School include processing admissions applications as well as receiving all relevant admissions documents such as resumes, recommendations and statements of purpose.


Tameka Smith
Graduate Activities Specialist for Admissions

Tameka is the Activities Specialist for Admissions in the Graduate School. Tameka's duties include processing and maintaining admission applications, scanning transcripts, GRE, and TOEFL scores. She also receives letters of recommendation, resumes, and statements of purpose. Tameka graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1998. She earned a degree in both Banking/Finance and Real Estate.

Sponsored Program:

Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program

Dr. Donald R. Cole
Assistant Provost & Assistant to the Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs;
Associate Professor of Mathematics;

Dr. Donald R. Cole is an administrator and faculty member at the University of Mississippi. In his capacities as Assistant Provost and Assistant to the Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs and Associate Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Cole plays an active leadership role in policy making, teaching, research, and diversification at the University.

He attended high school in Jackson, Mississippi, and holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Mississippi, M.A degrees from both the State University of New York and the University of Michigan and a Bachelor Degree from Tougaloo College.

Believing that education is the "great equalizer" and the central feature in the prevailing endurance of mankind, Dr. Cole is stern advocate for education, particularly for minority students. He devotes his time and energy to projects and causes that promotes the schooling, teaching, training and guidance opportunities of our children - particularly towards advanced degrees.

Dr. Cole is originally from Jackson, Mississippi where he was a member of the St. Matthews M.B. Church. During his travels, he has been an active member of Holy Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, (Fort Worth, Texas) and Prayer Temple Church of God in Christ (Tallahassee, Florida). ,He is currently an active Member of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church (Rev. Eric Wilson) in Oxford, Mississippi serving as a Church Trustee, Sunday School Superintendent and Director of Christian Education. He is a firm believer that "With God All Things Are Possible" and he yields his life to the direction of the Holy Spirit. His wife, Marcia, is a minister of the Gospel and they have three children, Donald II, Mariah and William.

Demetria Hereford
Assistant Director

Ms. Demetria Hereford, a native of Tupelo, MS, currently serves as the assistant director of the Ronald E. McNair Post baccalaureate Achievement Program at the University of Mississippi. Demetria graduated high school in 1991 and was admitted to Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL. In May of 1995 she obtained the Bachelor's of Art in Sociology. While attending Stillman, Demetria was a dean's list scholar, student support services participant, and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She then entered a graduate degree program at the University of Mississippi, seeking a degree in Sociology. The Master's of Art in Sociology was obtained in May of 1997.

Ms. Hereford began serving as assistant director of the McNair Program in December of 1997. She is responsible for the daily operation and management of the program. In addition, she assists participants in their process of career planning, needs assessment and provides academic counseling. Her special interests are demographics, population analysis, and community/economic development.